For the first time, royalties at Oklahoma State University topped $2 million in fiscal
year 2012. The royalties are generated by the use of university-developed technologies
that are licensed to start-up or existing companies.
“It is definitely a milestone,” said Stephen McKeever, OSU’s vice president for research and technology transfer. “Since this figure represents the value companies place on technologies developed by our researchers, I’d say this is a clear indication that we are fulfilling our land-grant mission by providing technologies of vital need in our community.”
Topping the list of royalty-generators is a probiotic administered to the nation’s dairy and feedlot cattle. Developed at OSU, the bacteria used in this direct-fed microbial help maintain the proper balance of microflora in the animals’ gastrointestinal tracts. The bacteria also help the cattle convert food to energy. The technology is licensed to Nutrition Physiology Company, LLC, a leading provider of probiotics to enhance the health and productivity of animals.
The other leading royalty-earners include:
- A collective group of wheat varieties developed by OSU’s Wheat Improvement Team and
licensed to Oklahoma Genetics Inc. These wheat varieties have unique characteristics
that make them adaptable to Oklahoma conditions, including traits necessary for high
yields, superior quality, disease and insect tolerance, excellent milling and baking
characteristics and excellent grazing potential. These varieties cover at least 47
percent of the state of Oklahoma.
- A method for measuring radiation exposure used in 25 percent of the world’s radiation badges. The badges are used to detect radiation in hospitals, medical and dental offices, universities, national laboratories and other industries where radiation poses a potential threat to employees. The technology is licensed to Landauer, the global leader in radiation science and services.
- A cattle diagnostic. Monoclonal antibodies invented at OSU can identify Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus, a costly disease that suppresses the cow’s immune system making them susceptible to other infections. The antibodies are licensed to IDEXX Laboratories, an international diagnostics company.
Royalties from these and other licensed technologies are re-invested back into university research programs. Half of all royalties support the Technology and Business Development Program, an initiative that seeks out research projects with high commercial potential and supports them to the point of licensing. TBDP funds prototype development and/or feasibility demonstration, since the projects are often too specific for federal funding and too basic to get normal industrial support.
For start-up companies, the university partners with Cowboy Technologies, LLC, a for-profit company that develops early-stage OSU technology companies until they are ready to be stand-alone entities. Cowboy Technologies provides management, marketing expertise and seed funding to help the new companies navigate these critical phases of technology development.
“You need more than just an innovative technology to make for commercial success,” said Steven Price, OSU’s associate vice president for technology development. “That’s why at OSU we have programs like TBDP and Cowboy Technologies, to help maximize our technologies to their full potential. We believe it’s the modern interpretation of our land-grant mission.”
For more information on technology development and licensing at OSU, visit http://tdc.okstate.edu